nameless as it is

theodorkittelsen.september
“September” by Theodor Kittelsen

The last of Summer is Delight –
Deterred by Retrospect.
‘Tis Ecstasy’s revealed Review –
Enchantment’s Syndicate.

To meet it – nameless as it is –
Without celestial Mail –
Audacious as without a knock
To walk within the Veil.

~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #1380)

forgetfulness of living

wolfpack800
image source: WallSave

There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive. This ecstasy, this forgetfulness of living, comes to the artist, caught up and out of himself in a sheet of flame; it comes to the soldier, war-mad in a stricken field and refusing quarter; and it came to Buck, leading the pack, sounding the old wolf-cry, straining after the food that was alive and that fled swiftly before him through the moonlight.
~ Jack London
(The Call of the Wild)

immensity of light-years

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horsehead nebula by NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team

Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or of acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.
~ Carl Sagan
(Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)

forces of life consciousness

windsofthewillow
image source: Winds of the Willow

Not too long ago thousands spent their lives as recluses to find spiritual vision in the solitude of nature. Modern man need not become a hermit to achieve this goal, for it is neither ecstasy nor world-estranged mysticism his era demands, but a balance between quantitative and qualitative reality. Modern man, with his reduced capacity for intuitive perception, is unlikely to benefit from the contemplative life of a hermit in the wilderness. But what he can do is to give undivided attention, at times, to a natural phenomenon, observing it in detail, and recalling all the scientific facts about it he may remember. Gradually, however, he must silence his thoughts and, for moments at least, forget all his personal cares and desires, until nothing remains in his soul but awe for the miracle before him. Such efforts are like journeys beyond the boundaries of narrow self-love and, although the process of intuitive awakening is laborious and slow, its rewards are noticeable from the very first. If pursued through the course of years, something will begin to stir in the human soul, a sense of kinship with the forces of life consciousness which rule the world of plants and animals, and with the powers which determine the laws of matter. While analytical intellect may well be called the most precious fruit of the Modern Age, it must not be allowed to rule supreme in matters of cognition. If science is to bring happiness and real progress to the world, it needs the warmth of man’s heart just as much as the cold inquisitiveness of his brain.
~ Franz Winkler
(Man: The Bridge Between Two Worlds)

great black-backed gulls

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8.19.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach

The seagulls know the truth of it
And scream it overhead
~ David Gray
♫ (Nos Da Cariad) ♫

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8.19.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach

Growing up visiting the beaches of Cape Cod I never paid close attention to seagulls, taking them very much for granted. But in 2011, after reading the book, A Time for Everything, by Karl O. Knausgård, I’ve been drawn to these interesting sea birds. However, it wasn’t until April of last year (2012) that I noticed that there are different kinds of seagulls, when I saw a pair of black-headed gulls perched on a dock at Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia.

Now I’m pretty sure the gulls we commonly have on our beach here in Connecticut are ring-billed gulls. One day last August (2012), Tim & I were having a light supper sitting at a picnic table on the grass at our beach. We were chatting away and I was watching a gull behind him, who was loitering on the grass, hoping for a handout. (We never give them anything, however, because our food is not good for them.) Slowly it dawned on me that this was the biggest gull I had ever laid eyes on! And yet he had the speckled coloring of an immature one.

Thankfully I had my camera, but when Tim turned around to see what I was so excited about the gull took off. He came back, however, and began strutting along the sidewalk as if he owned the place.

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8.19.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach

Eventually he walked up onto the rocks and posed for me.

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8.19.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
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8.19.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach

In the pictures above and below I was trying to capture this huge baby standing as close to an adult “regular” gull as I could, to illustrate the difference in size. There were two of these large gulls present that day, but this was the one that came closer to us.

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8.19.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach

Ten days after this gull encounter at the beach we had to take Tim to the hospital in the middle of the night. At dawn I came home to shower and then return to the hospital. As I started driving down Bank Street in New London there was a seagull in the middle of the street, feasting on some roadkill. He didn’t move out of the way of my car until it was almost too late. When he did take off he didn’t fly away, though. He kept flying just a few feet in front of my car, flying very low, all the way down Bank Street to Parade Plaza.

If seagull shows up it means it’s time to clean up your home environment and let go of and recycle as much as you possibly can. … Spend a significant amount of time at the seashore meditating, allowing the rhythms of the waves and the wind to be your guiding pulse.
~ Dr. Steven D. Farmer
(Animal Spirit Guides)

It wasn’t until late September, when we took a day trip to Block Island, that we got a clue about the identity of these giant seagulls. Our tour guide asked us if we had ever seen a great black-backed gull, the largest of all gulls. Apparently they are showing up on Block Island, too!

After Tim came home from the hospital, but before we went to Block Island, son Nate came up from Georgia to help “clean out our home environment” after Tim’s hospital stay. While he was here we took him to the beach one evening, all excited about showing him the big seagulls. But they weren’t there that night. However, we sat with him there for hours, soaking up the healing power of the sea and talking about the wonders of the universe – a memory I will treasure forever. The following sketch reminds me of some of our conversations, Mr. Logic and Ms. Wonder, chatting with their son…

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image: Sketchnotes: Natalie Batalha on Exoplanets & Love

Since Nate left to go back home we have spotted the great black-backed gulls at the beach again many times, even after Hurricane Sandy and Blizzard Charlotte, so it looks like the two of them are planning to stick around for a while. And my sister has reported seeing them there a couple of times, too, when she’s gone to the beach to eat a peaceful lunch in her car. Beverly thought I had to be exaggerating until she saw them for herself!

Water Pearl Palace

10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
Water Pearl Palace created by Dylan & Ted Gaffney ~ 10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

Queen Moonstone and her sprites live in Water Pearl Palace built in the twisted roots of the giant sycamore tree. During the day they guard this mystical gateway to other worlds, but gather every evening to dance among the great boughs of the tree and along the rippling stream celebrating creativity. Within the many nooks and crannies of the subterranean palace, the sprites leave tokens found during their nightly travels. Visit on a full moon and witness their grand party when they assist all who seek their help.
~ Wee Faerie Village: Land of Picture Making

10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
~ Emily Brontë
(The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Brontë)

10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

People must believe what they can, and those who believe more must not be hard upon those who believe less. I doubt if you would have believed it all yourself if you hadn’t seen some of it.
~ George MacDonald
(The Princess & The Goblin)

10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
10.12.12 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

living is joy enough

"Autumn. Young Woman in a Garden." by Konstantin Korovin
“Autumn. Young Woman in a Garden.” by Konstantin Korovin

I find ecstasy in living; the mere sense of living is joy enough. How do most people live without any thoughts? There are many people in the world – you must have noticed them in the streets – how do they live? How do they get the strength to put on their clothes in the morning?
~ Emily Dickinson
(The Letters of Emily Dickinson, 1845-1886)

brush fire

3.4.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Poquonnock River Walkway ~ 3.4.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Last weekend we took a short walk on the Poquonnock River Walkway because we had heard on the news that there had been a brush fire. Fortunately the fire broke out behind the Poquonnock Bridge Firehouse, but it ignited several patches of brush along the walkway before the firemen got the flames under control. Everything is so wet there it is hard to imagine how the fire might have started.

3.4.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
3.4.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

There were many birds busy in the reeds and trees lining the walkway.

3.4.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
3.4.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

It’s disheartening to see all the illegally discarded garbage exposed by the fire. Wish I knew why some people cannot make the effort to dispose of their waste materials properly at the “transfer station.”  When I was little we called it a “dump” and we took to heart all the public service ads on TV encouraging us not to be litter bugs!

3.4.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
3.4.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

For my sister and me Saturday trips to the dump were fun! Perhaps once or twice a month Dad would load up the back of his pick-up truck with our family’s trash. Beverly and I would then climb into the cab and snuggle up to our papa as closely as we could. This was back before the days of seat belts. The reason we held on tight was that the passenger door would sometimes swing open when the truck turned a corner. (The problem was eventually repaired.) What a thrilling adventure! And the chance to feel the strong arms of our father holding us securely, the chance to feel like precious cargo!

3.4.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
3.4.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

On the way home from the dump we got to ride in the back of the pick-up truck! We begged and pleaded and were sometimes rewarded with a side trip up and back down Route 320, a road with many wonderfully smooth bumps – riding over them would make us feel like we left our stomachs on the truck while our bodies were lifted into the air by some mysterious force for a fraction of a moment. These days I’m sure Dad would be arrested for endangering minors, but for me these were the spicy experiences of my young life!

The whispers of shared ecstasy are choral.
~ George Steiner
(Grammars of Creation)